Cell death of osteocytes occurs in rat alveolar bone during experimental tooth movement

M. Hamaya, Itaru Mizoguchi, Y. Sakakura, T. Yajima, Y. Abiko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to examine the morphological changes in alveolar bone osteocytes on the pressure side during experimental tooth movement, using quantitative evaluation on hematoxylin and eosin-stained sections, the TUNEL method, confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), and transmission electron microscopy. In 8-week-old Wistar rats, the left first molar was forced to move mesially with an average load of 10 g by a nickel-titanium superelastic wire. After 6 hours, nuclear condensation and fragmentation appeared in osteocytes adjacent to the hyalinized periodontal ligament (PDL). These cells showed TUNEL-positive reaction. The number of osteocytes with apoptosis progressively increased up to 1 day. At 1 and 2 days, cytoplasmic and nuclear destruction and distribution within the lacunae occurred and increased up to 4 days. The proportion of necrotic osteocytes and near empty lacunae peaked at 2 and 4 days, respectively. At 7 days, necrotic osteocyte and empty lacunae numbers returned to the level of control bone, probably due to resorption of the alveolar bone containing apoptotic and necrotic osteocytes. Ultrastructually, the osteocytes showed apoptotic morphology at 6 and 12 hours and 1 day; at 2 and 4 days, several osteocytes exhibited characteristics of necrosis and destructive images of the surrounding bone matrix, which resulted in enlargement of the lacunae. The present results demonstrate that osteocytes in alveolar bone adjacent to the hyalinized PDL underwent cell death via apoptosis and "secondary necrosis" during orthodontic tooth movement, which may be associated with the subsequent bone resorption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-126
Number of pages10
JournalCalcified Tissue International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Feb 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Cell death
  • Necrosis
  • Osteocyte
  • Tooth movement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Endocrinology


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